Indiana Jones and the Typical University-level Dig
|Indiana Jones and the Typical University-level Dig|
Indiana Jones and the Typical University-level Dig is a 2011 direct-to-DVD spinoff of the Indiana Jones series, documenting the struggle of Indiana Jones and his posse to gather pieces of Norman pottery within a three day time frame, all while combating the Nazis and bloodthirsty ethnics unable to speak a word of English typically found on an English local council.
The movie was surprisingly well-received for a DTV production, although some questioned why the main characters hadn't aged despite the passage of 60 years... because the greatest concern of the series had always been historical accuracy.
Spielberg wished to establish a true to life depiction of university level archaeology, hence the film opens to a man in a cardigan spoon feeding information to a lecture hall of hungover first year students. In typical exaggerated Hollywood style, several of the students are both taking notes and comprehending the content.
A letter, addressed to one Professor Roberts, is placed on the desk of the lecturer. After a brief pause his leather case falls to the ground, spilling the contexts of other Norman sites all over the floor. To the dismay of Roberts, the council has imposed a three day limit. A limit that only allows for a single context recording of the area, a type of recording known to create severe chronological anomalies in phase records.
The film transitions three weeks to the present day. Indiana Jones is furiously thrusting at the controls of a propeller driven aircraft, a large shard of the true cross protruding from the spluttering motor. The aircraft enters a steep decent and Jones, muttering under his breath, hurls an abnormally large terracotta warrior from the plane. This proceeds to land on the cockpit of a pursuing jet fighter aircraft as the pilot shouts filthy sounding Mandarin. The damaged jet spirals down into Stonehenge and all in the immediate vicinity is consumed in a massive fireball.
The camera then cuts to a group of melancholic students, neck-beards, thrift store jewelry and high-visibility vests framing their dejected expressions. Professor Roberts steps forwards, trowel in hand.
Roberts: The council refused our third trench. Apparently there isn't sufficient evidence of an external wall abutted by a secondary feature in that location...
Jones lands abruptly before the group. Despite having missed the announcement, Jones speaks with advanced knowledge of the situation, presumably because he stalks the Facebook pages of students like every other professor.
Jones: Is this sufficient evidence for your council?
*Indiana Jones theme music plays*
In the manner of most university academics attempting to start conversation with their charges, Jones confides with the students an unrelated story of his youth. Jones recounts how his encounter with a gang of smugglers drew him to archaeology. Specifically, the years of initial site study, correlation of their particular smuggling den with other historical dens in the area and discussion whether the use of a 'den' was correct within anthropological theory concerning non-peg-legged smugglers.
Because otherwise he would be a fucking antiquarian.
There is initial disagreement between the students and Jones concerning whether the mustachioed technician should drive the geophysics device, or whether Short Round should do it with wooden chokes tied to his feet. However, all warm to Jones after he displays his unique ability to identify internal walls, load bearing walls and those concealing some form of flame throwing insect.
Jones shares a tender scene with the students when they demonstrate the correct method of historical stratification, as opposed to Jones' long practiced things that will make Nazis chase me and objects that will melt my face off. Indeed, the one student who brings his laptop everywhere allows Jones to watch reruns of a somewhat comic television series while the pair clean recovered artifacts, introducing Jones to true archaeological dig practice.
With time Jones and Short Round become suspicious of a lab-coated man wielding archaeomagnetic equipment and an Eastern European accent on the dig site and the pair proceed to pursue the man as he flees to the nearest applicable laboratory. The man is apprehended, protesting in Russian for better subtitles, however several molecules of crude claywork from the site are lost to the spectrometer of the joyless chemistry majors.
The ever fallible Jones is consoled that, yes, the molecules probably did belong in a museum.
The following day the students deal with significant fill on the site. To the horror of Jones, it is later revealed this fill was not a result of slumping, but a prior dig funded by the University of Düsseldorf.
Unsurprisingly, several of the female sophomores become possessed of some ancient madness released by the pillaging Teutonics. The innocent students and their double-barreled surnames find themselves transported to an archaic temple of debauchery and other Burberry products, the local pub of an English country town.
Back in his element, Jones first must first flee the raging lahar (mud torrent) produced by flushing an average public toilet. With just seconds to spare, Jones rappels off an individual humming out of tune in a cubicle, avoiding certain death by rolling urinal cake.
Next, Jones faces a pale, angry little man who sought to defile the sophomores in the rear of his Peugeot 205 as part of a long forgotten ritual that would summon a druidic demon, or at least serious questioning of his own manhood.
The CCTV system then inexplicably proceeds to destroy the establishment, because both directors felt it was wrong to depart from franchise tradition.
Though several students succumb to a business degree during various subsequent adventures, the film eventually concludes on a high note as all characters discover friendship and trust.
Neither of which have any historical value.
- Indiana Jones returns, essentially unchanged from the previous four films, with Whip Appreciator's Club membership renewed. Passing reference is made to Jones' PhD on the Oh-Shittites, a mostly agrarian society of the Middle East that bankrupted itself building ever more elaborate booby traps. This must have peer reviewed very well because it is unclear whether Jones has opened a book since.
- A new character introduced to the series, Professor Roberts is the 62-year-old head of the Department of Historical and Cultural Inquiry in an unidentified university, but probably not one of the three great British universities; Cambridge, Oxford or Hull. He is described by Lucas as what Indiana would be if he settled down and acquired a wife who paints landscapes all day. Dialogue between the pair establishes that Prof. Roberts and Jones have met previously, presumably because Jones inadvertently strayed into a university once while fleeing a rolling boulder. Prof. Roberts is initially skeptical of Jones' methods and inability to identify even the most blatant cut, however they find common ground in an inability to operate a PowerPoint presentation shared by all lecturers. In the climactic scene Prof. Roberts is cruelly struck down by the rather harsh July sun, and Jones must select the correct thermos containing green tea to revive him.
- The students are the main allies of Jones and the other protagonists, although the majority of individual students remain referred to solely via their spiritual name, their blogging pseudonym. The group subsists mostly on ramen noodles and the self satisfaction of knowing what geological features would make a location suitable for bronze-age settlement. Ever enthusiastic, the students follow the lead of Jones and tend to view him as some form of of role model for his ability to travel the globe and disrespect other cultures with an unidentified third party footing the bill.
- The Council is a faceless cult that enacts by-laws with the powers they believe are granted to them from some chambers of Parliament, briefly described as an underworld of bizarre inhumations and archaic oddities, at least when not on summer recess. To prevent anyone finding the amulet that theoretically keeps the Council in perpetual power, a limit is enforced on the size of trenches at 5 by 15 metres. This is explained by the Council beautification committee over tea and cream biscuits, along with the subtle threat that they "remove the garbage" every Wednesday. A pair of unscrupulous Council bureaucrats attempt to buy the support of Jones by offering him the place as celebrity to open the local Tesco, however Jones senses that the politicians are simply interested in his broad knowledge of devious traps to make the unwitting suffer.
- The council estate miscreants are a loose battalion of fighters denoted onscreen by their tracksuit bottoms. Ominously they receive payment from the Council job centre, apparently in return for disrupting the dig by re-arranging the pegs marking an Anglo-Saxon redoubt into a giant cock and balls. The group are reputed to be fierce knife fighters, however - like all of Jones assailants - the majority of their onscreen time involves clumsily falling off high places, probably attributable to their copious Stella Artois consumption.
- The popular character Short Round again stars alongside Jones, though his time on screen is mostly dominated by slapstick antics while the pair flee from bumbling authorities, apparently inspired by observations the directors made while residing in London during July, 2011.
- Roberts: Now Dr. Jones this is something quite special, a Nordic stele on whale bone..
- Jones: This opens what now.
- Roberts: No, no Dr. Jones it is a code, riddle if you will. This artifact suggests continuous 9th century habitation.
- Short Round: A riddle Dr. Jones. Sound like National Treasure Dr. Jones.
- Jones: *cough* mmhhgghh let me look at that, good professor- whoop-
- *stele falls under the foot of Jones and is broken into a thousand Nordic pieces*
- Jones: Uh... Nazis?
Middle England was chosen for the setting, as a primitive society that had not fully embraced firearms would fascinate an American audience. One particularly comic scene depicts a local English policeman brandishing his truncheon with fury and moving towards the protagonists, only to be struck down by the superior pistol of Jones, hilariously displaying the clash of cultures as the officer collapses limp in a pool of arterial blood.
The temples of Greece had initially been scouted as a suitable location, however both directors agreed that there was very little left for either Jones or some form of Nazi to recover as Goldman Sachs had already looted anything of value.
The film achieved moderate success in the continental United States, becoming the third most successful of the franchise when adjusted for inflation.
Lucas admitted that he was forced to remove a tense scene in which Jones offers to buy the group sausage rolls and Diet Coke and a first year student reveals she is vegetarian. This was instead replaced with a scene of the council chambers being destroyed by a movement of computer animated sheep, as the average American test audience related more to animated farm creatures than people with college degrees.
Family groups were supportive of the wholesome displays of extreme violence and death, and were acceptive of the one vaguely romantic subplot between Jones and something female, necessary in every Hollywood film to prevent the massive, homosexual orgy that would happen if the actors were allowed to 'make it up as they go' in the manner of Indiana Jones.